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Susan Jacobs Lockhart

Susan Jacobs Lockhart, group photo

Susan Jacobs Lockhart (seated lower left) with fellow Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy board members at the Storer House in Los Angeles, California in 1986. Photo courtesy of savewright.org

Raised with Frank Lloyd Wright

Multi-talented designer, musician, and educator Susan Jacobs Lockhart has dedicated herself over many years to preserving the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright. Lockhart’s involvement with Wright began at an early age. Her parents, Herbert and Katherine, commissioned Wright to build their home in Madison, Wisconsin. Named Usonia I (1936), the residence was a compact and energy-efficient structure; this was one of several experiments by Wright to design for cost-conscious households.

Coming of Age in the Desert

Lockhart met Wright when she was only 3 and began visiting Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona with her parents regularly in subsequent years. In addition to architecture, Taliesin West encouraged all manner of artistic expression. For her part, the young Lockhart would often play piano for Wright and other Taliesin fellows. Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in Arts Education in 1953, Lockhart moved to New York City to study music. During this time, Wright invited Lockhart to join him in the desert permanently.

Becoming a Leader at Taliesin West

Completed in 1937, Wright’s Taliesin West was initially conceived as a seasonal retreat for Wright’s health. Its Fellowship allowed young artists, architects, and designers to reside on the property while partaking in architectural education, collaborative construction works, and various activities. While Lockhart started as an administrative staff member, she eventually became a full fellow. Her fine arts background and musical inclination combined with Taliesin’s community-centric environment proved to be an ideal match.

A Multifaceted, Organic Designer

As a member of the Taliesin Fellowship for the last 45 years, Lockhart has been involved in all aspects of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s operations. She is a recent past President of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy after having served on its board for many years. Additionally, she has served as a board member and director of events for various cultural and artistic organizations in Arizona. As an artist, she has created commission-based sculptures in various mediums, including glass, stained wood, and fabric. Her works incorporate natural forms from her surroundings, often rendered as abstract geometric patterns — a method consistently practiced by Wright and other Taliesin fellows. Lockhart frequently lectures about her designs as well as Wright’s philosophies and sustainability in architecture.

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Susan Jacobs Lockhart